Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Too busy online to really live?

A friend of mine recently chatted to me about the whole idea of being 'off-line:on-life' and it's worked it's way deep into my soul. I live way too much through my computer screen - the endless emails, the blogs I read and this one I update, the entertaining amusement and occasional connection that is Facebook, news and post online through the BBC. Then there are several websites to update and contribute to, including a shop, a charity, a cause and a church. Talks to listen to, books to review and sermons to research, holidays to seek out, programmes to test out and download and music to buy. Of course the internet is laden with more overt dangers - pornography to avoid, endless time wasting options to numb my brain and kill my soul and bust my schedule.

All of which makes me wonder when I'm not online or in front of the other screen (TV) why space for genuine relationship building or participation in life in the great outdoors is so hard to find.
Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far and I'm an on-line and off-life instead. Lent is fast approaching (no pun intended) and so perhaps I need an internet fast or at least a radical change of diet. Suggestions on a postcard? Or a email, or comment on this blog of course...


Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever said on their death bed, that they wished they'd spent more time online?

To borrow from the title of your previous post, "when the game is over, the box gets swtiched off"!

Jeremy said...

I sympathise with this. There are days when I realise I've spent almost all my waking hours in front of a screen. Unfortunately I write for a living, and submissions in pencil are no longer approved.
My own way around the problem has not been to abandon being online, but to try and minimize the inefficiencies and fragmentation of attention that being online provokes in me - the skimming of 101 things and engaging with none of them.

Mostly that's meant trying to be more purposeful, more proactive. I try and work on one thing at a time, choose what I want to read online ahead of time and resist the urge to surf, and I try and check my email a couple of times a day rather than having it updating 'live' and cutting across me.
That way I am online, but I'm not scattering my concentration to the four winds. That's the best compromise I've come up with.

Phil on 6 February 2008 at 22:25 said...

I received this email today...

"Dear Simple Pastor..

I cut down the use of the computer and internet last year around Lent time because I really recognised a unhealthy buzz that I experienced when receiving emails and surfing generally. Now one year on, I have still kept the reduction in place. I would have three days online in the week and four days off and one of these days included Sunday. I found it a liberating experience and know that I responded to God's promptings about the persuasiveness of the internet and how it can cause something akin to idolatry. With restrictions in place, I know that I can control it's effect."

Emma F said...

For every hour on the net, spend two with real people!! Try shopping the old fashioned way...mail order!! Limit Facebook to one day a thing i have done - it is amazing how much time i now have outside of work!!

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